All the Lebanese drivers were wearing seat belts, driving carefully and not using their mobiles yesterday all because of a voice note that was sent to some guy called Maurice. No one knows if it’s a joke or not, but somehow everyone believed the story and became a better driver.
Maybe that’s what we need to make the new traffic law work, a new Maurice every week.
Here’s the original voice note:
And the one that followed:
And one of the many hilarious voice notes that followed:
Someone also shared a traffic fine addressed to Maurice lol!
I’m sure you’ve all heard about Haidar, the three-year old boy who survived the recent Beirut bombings but unfortunately lost both his parents. Most of the local TVs rushed to interview the poor kid while still at the hospital which was obviously wrong, but something positive came out of his tragic story as an online campaign was kicked off to fulfill Haidar’s dream and let him meet Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.
The hashtag #CristianoMeetHaidar went viral within few hours with the help of local TVs and celebrities like Elissa and Diana Haddad who offered to cover his trip expenses and it looks like Haidar will meet Cristiano and watch the Classico as well which is amazing news!
Of course this trip will not bring his parents back nor make his life any easier but it will definitely cheer him up and boost his morale. Nevertheless, there’s another online campaign to raise money for Haidar and help him build a better future. The funds raised will go into a personal account for Haidar which will later on serve as a tuition fund and any other expenses this child could need.
The death of a parent is considered one of the most painful, if not traumatic, experiences for a child. Haidar needs all the support and love he can get right now and I hope these small gestures will brighten his world.
#SeeLebanonForYourself is an initiative by Beirut’s Phoenicia Hotel to highlight the beauty of Lebanon through high quality virtual images. The Virtual Reality campaign was kicked off a week ago (but halted due to recent events) and aims at showing Lebanon’s gems through high quality virtual images..
You can enjoy the virtual tour in three different ways:
– Desktop: This is the simplest where you just drag the mouse to move the panorama.
– Mobile: Using the gyro icon, just move your phone around in 360 degrees.
– 3D imaging: You can use Google Cardboard, Samsung gear VR or Oculus rift.
The website is simple and loads very quickly. The images are breathtaking and you can easily zoom in and out. The areas currently available are the following:
– Jeita Grotto
– Saydit el Nourieh
– Saida Souq
– Balou3 Balaa
– Saida Sea Castle
– Beiteddine Hammam
And more will be added soon.
Despite everything that’s been happening in Lebanon, there are always new initiatives aimed at showing what Lebanon is truly about and reminding us that we live in a beautiful country.
A Palestinian cab driver decided to set himself and his car on fire after he got stopped earlier today by a policeman in Salim Salam. The driver apparently had a lot of pending fines and couldn’t pay any of them. The story was first shared on bintjbeil.org and most of the comments I read there were bashing the police officer and the system and I can’t really blame them.
I don’t blame them because the traffic law is not fair, not because the fines are high, but because it’s not being applied to everyone, because some people are using their wasta to cancel the fines, because police officers are still breaking the law instead of setting the right example. The idea from the new traffic law should be to help people become aware of the traffic law and care about their own safety, not just fine them and send the money elsewhere. The police officer who stopped the driver may be a decent cop but the problem is with the whole system.
The traffic law is not working and this 43 year old Palestinian driver is yet another victim of this corrupt system. A couple of months ago, another Lebanese taxi driver had a heart attack and died after being stopped by the police for traffic violations that he is unable to pay for.
Despite all that, I encourage everyone to respect the law and drive safely for their own sake and to avoid getting heavy and useless fines. If the roads are bad and the traffic law is not working, the least we can do is drive safely, set an example for others to follow and hope that one day everyone will do the same.
Google has acknowledged the recent terrorist attacks in Beirut with a commemorative ribbon on their Lebanon homepage www.google.com.lb. The black ribbon is a sign of remembrance and mourning and was also added to Google’s main page in response to the #Paris attacks.
In addition to Google, several foreign papers today acknowledged the #Beirut attacks especially after Facebook’s Safety Check was activated for Paris attacks but not Beirut. To name few, Time and The New York Times featured articles on how Beirut feels forgotten after the latest ISIS attacks. NY Times also quoted fellow blogger Elie in their article following his great take on the Paris and Beirut attacks.
Egyptian Legend Adel Emam put the Lebanese flag as a background on his profile picture in support.
Even in football, German star and ManUnited player Bastian Schweinsteiger expressed his condolences to the Beirut bombing victims.
Chelsea player Cesc Fabregas, whose wife Danielle Semaan is Lebanese, also mentioned Beirut in his FB post. The first comment he got was funny though as someone asked him to “Pray For Chelsea because they will be relegated”.
On a last note, a French reader of the blog shared his idea of the “Facebook Safety Check” for Beiruti people adding a “We don’t care if you are affected” button.
Al-Manar TV Reporter Ali Rasslan decided to visit Haidar, a three-year boy who got injured in the Burj Barajneh blast and ask him about his dead parents. The reporter was clearly aware that Haidar was orphaned after both his mother and father died in the explosion that took place on Thursday in Bourj al-Barajneh, yet he thought it would be a smart idea to visit him at the hospital while he’s laying in bed injured and ask him about his parents’ whereabouts.
To make things even worse, he started by asking the poor kid who’s seriously injured and still traumatized from the blast if he’s ok! Eh walla he’s doing just great. He just survived a terrible bombing, he may have lost his right eye, he just lost both his parents and is laying in a hospital bed instead of playing with his friends or watching TV. He’s having the time of his life I’m sure!
Needless to say, most of the TV reporters here in Lebanon cover the events in an unethical and inappropriate way. This video just happened to be gone viral and caught my attention. Nada Andraos was asking one of the mothers if she saw her dead child’s body. Georges Saliby was asking a kid if he has anything to tell his deceased parent at the worst possible time etc …
I think the Lebanese media needs to take lessons from the French and watch how unfortunate incidents are covered properly.
Facebook enabled yesterday the “safety check” following the Paris terrors attacks whereas people in the affected area can mark themselves as safe which will send an alert to their friends and followers. The Paris attacks are quite shocking and the death toll is still on the rise unfortunately. All of my friends there are safe but they still can’t believe what’s happening.
Speaking of alerts and attacks, I think it would be quite useful if we have this feature for Beirut and for the Arab World as well. We’ve had over 20 bombings and attacks since 2014 and at least 10 of them were against civilians unfortunately. That way, and since the Facebook penetration in Lebanon is extremely high and lines are usually down after bombings, those who are in the affected area can let their friends and family know that they are safe.
Someone once came up with an app in Lebanon to notify others that you are still alive but Facebook Safety Alert is much more efficient.
After yesterday’s bombing, da7ye.com shared a video on their FB page showing fireworks in Tarik el Jdeede area and linked them to the twin suicide blasts. There were indeed fireworks but because of a wedding that was taking place at the same time and they just happened to take off few minutes after the blast. An apology was issued later on by da7ye.com on their FB page and the person who spread the story was apparently fired.
Moreover, the same page shared an hour later a picture of a young man from Tarik el Jdeede donating blood to the victims in one of the hospitals.
I know this might sound a little cliché but the last thing we need is more hatred and sectarianism among the Lebanese, especially when based on false stories and I’m glad da7ye did rectify the story and apologize. Terrorism knows no religion and kills innocent people irrespective of their religion, age, gender or race. In times like these, we need to spread unity and hope and praise people like Adel Termos, who rushed to tackle the terrorist and scarified his life in order to save tens of others.
I don’t care if Burj al-Barajneh is controlled by a political party or not, today’s suicide bombings were directed against innocent civilians in a busy area of a southern Beirut suburb. At least 40 people were confirmed dead so far and 200 were injured in the blasts. This is the first blast to target Beirut’s suburbs since June 2014 and the deadliest attack in the past 10 years if I’m not mistaken.
My thoughts are with all of those affected by this tragedy. Let us show some respect for the dead in these times and avoid any unnecessary comments.
Here’s a video showing the minute when the second blast took place. Fortunately for us, a third suicide bomber was apparently killed during the first two blasts.